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textual harassment also text stalking

noun [uncountable]

the activity of sending text messages to mobile phones which insult or abuse people

text stalking

adjective

'A schoolgirl has won a landmark injunction banning her 20-year-old boyfriend from sending her text messages on her mobile phone … The case highlights … the disturbing trend of so-called textual harassment.'

Daily Mail March 2001

'Threatening text messages are particularly frightening because stalkers have unlimited access to their victims … One of the worst aspects of text stalking, says Melanie, was not being able to avoid the messages.'

Cosmopolitan magazine July 2002

Textual harassment has recently been identified as a new form of socially dysfunctional behaviour, not just in adult relationships but even amongst teenagers, where it has been perpetrated as an alternative to bullying.

Background – textual harassment

In fact, the term textual harassment was in use even before the evolution of the mobile-phone-oriented society of the new millennium. It has been applied in various contexts, including the suppression of written expression of political views. Textual harassment has also been used to describe a form of sexual discrimination which attempts to disguise or deny female authorship.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 17th February 2003.

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